There have been many welcome changes lately. First of all, la rentrée (return to school and work after the summer holidays) which I have welcomed with arms wide-open. While I love the lazy sunny days of summer as much as anyone, I am above all someone who likes to be organized and have a routine. I feel guilty and ashamed saying this as I know one day in the not-so-far-off future when I am a real adult with children and a career I will look back and cringe about my cavalier attitude towards “too much free time”. That being said, I am happy to be back to work.
And, more importantly…my friends are back, and with them my social life! My social life which evaporated last May when most of my fellow assistants packed up and left. My plan was to make more French friends once the Anglophones left, but that is nearly impossible during the summer time when all French people migrate to the beach, leaving the cities barren and desolate. Happily, many of my closest friends succeeded in the difficult task of renewing their contracts and are back for a second turn as English assistants. And this year will be even better because the bureaucratic bullshit is a breeze now that we know the ropes and are already in the system.
The last few weeks the city has turned from a ghost town into a vibrant, pulsing mecca. With the rentrée have come endless events around the city. There have been music festivals and braderies (flea markets), art exhibits and even a festival gourmand. One of the flea markets we had recently was the second biggest in France, and attracted Parisians and all other sorts of tourists. It took us 2 hours to walk from one end of it to the other!
And the Saturday market is back to its’ usual booming, busy self. Although I can’t say that I missed the crowd there this summer, there is something nice about the return of the crush of people who add an energy that is otherwise lacking. Everywhere you look you see families, laughter, excitement, passion. Gypsy bands play lively music and men make balloon animals for hordes of excitable children. More than anything I love the rapport that I have with my usual vendors. Last week my poultry man asked me if I will be needing my turkey for Thanksgiving soon…
And then there is the return of the weekly dinners with my 2 closest friends here, Berit and Emma (we missed you Jules!). Last weeks’ menu included chicken and parsley sausage (from my favorite poultry guy, mentioned earlier), cauliflower roasted with garlic and onions, salad, and medallions of roasted eggplant with a bruschetta topping. It was a long-awaited reunion, and a much-anticipated meal that did not disappoint.
The girls being back has also meant we’ve begun making the rounds to our favorite creperies. The latest one we went to is called Jardin des Saveurs and is just outside the city center, so the prices are cheaper even though the quality is amazing. I had a galette with creamed leeks, smoked salmon and scallops. It was heavenly. My friends had equally amazing galettes as well. I was particularly jealous of one which had duck with pears and a fig reduction (pictured below, in center).
These days, I am feeling very at home; I couldn’t be happier in Rennes if I tried. Fall is in the air, and everything is as it should be.
Coming soon is the story of an amazing birthday dinner which included the best steak and an equally delicious cake.